Keith Tipton couldn't hold back his anger in January after Dry Creek flooded his property for the second time in five months. At the time, he didn't think crews did enough to prevent future floods following the August storm that devastated his community.
“I am pretty much over it, I really am,” Tipton said back then. “The creek's holding right here where they've fixed it, but they didn't come on up to this part right here.”
Today, he can't hold back his gratitude. After he spoke up, workers focused their attention on the section of Dry Creek that sits behind his house.
“These tears are just happiness,” Tipton said. “I just want to grab you dude and squeeze you until you pop. They came right in, fixed the creek, moved my property up, came in and put grass on, (put straw on it).”
Crews began the roughly $800,000 remediation project in October in hopes they could help prevent history from repeating itself. After the second, less severe flood in January, they re-focused their efforts. The project wrapped up last week.
Although leaders say the creek is in better shape today than it was back then, they admit the problem is not fixed. Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge says the creek still needs more attention.
“There remains work to be done,” Eldridge said. “We've addressed the areas that are considered to be the highest priority by the engineers. We're continuing to acknowledge that there are issues remaining, but right now (we're) just focused on how we can fund the further work.”
The mayor says engineers originally estimated it'd cost $3 million to properly fix the creek. The project that just wrapped up cost less than $1 million. According to Mayor Eldridge, he's looking for more money so the county can do more work and ease community concerns.
“There are concerns that remain and we are not ignoring those concerns, it's just that as of today we don't have the funding source to be able to address them,” Eldridge said. “I intend for us to be able to address (the concerns) in some manner.”
Ruth Garner is not satisfied with the work so far. She is convinced the county has not even scratched the surface.
“They're not doing it right,” Garner said. “I am so nervous. I can't sleep, because I'm afraid it's going to rain and I'm going to be flooded out again. If it comes another bad rain, we'll be flooded.”